Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Irish Wolfound and Scottish Deerhound: From hunters to housemates

Scottish Deerhound
File:Irish Wolfhound Sam.jpg
Irish Wolfhound


Big dogs that were bred to hunt.
Now happy family companions who love people more than seeking prey.










The Irish Wolfhound is technically the tallest breed of dog; I say technically because other breeds do sometime produce oversize individual dogs that can be taller (I'm thinking of the Great Dane.)
As a breed though, the Wolfhound is tallest, at 34 - 38 inches or  84 - 96.5 cm.





Wolfhound


 The Wolfhound needs exercise but once in a house is happy to have a comfy bed - or their own couch - to relax on. Remember, these big breeds need a little cushioning for their joints/frames and giving them their own couch is one way to accomplish this. These are very people orientated dogs who do not thrive when left alone for too long on a regular basis. 














Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound may come from a similar ancestor as the Wolfhound, however, they have been an independent breed for at least several hundred years. These are noble dogs not just in carriage but by birth - at one point no one of lower status than an Earl was allowed to own a Deerhound.



As a result, Deerhounds have always been an uncommon dog and have long been one of the Kennel Clubs vulnerable native breeds.


On the other hand, the breeding of this breed has always been conducted with great care. Those Deerhounds which are bred, are animals of excellent quality and character and this remains a stable and intelligent breed of dog.




Wolfhound


Wolfhounds come in colors from light, almost white, to black. They can also be brindle in color. The Wolfhound is a somewhat thicker, heavier hound than the Deerhound and with a thicker muzzle.

Deerhound





 Deerhounds come in shades of grey to black, and in brindle.
The Deerhound is built like a Greyhound; with their longer hair they can look bulkier than they physically are. These are tall dogs with small waists, typical for the athletes that they are. They are of smaller stature than the Wolfhound, at 28 - 32 inches, or 71 - 81 cm.


Wolfhound       
Deerhound

Both breeds are excellent family companions, with stable personalities, quiet, steadfast, and people orientated. Interestingly, these are not the world's best watch dogs. While aloof with strangers these are such stable breeds of dogs they may just quietly observe a stranger approaching the house.


Irish Wolfhound
Scottish Deerhound

Some Wolfhound bloodlines are more prone to barking than others, however, if you really want a dog that alerts you to strangers you may want to have a backup little dog to do the barking. When a hound of this size walks up however, most strangers will probably stop dead in their tracks. As a companion canine you would be hard pressed to find a better tempered pair of breeds; one in tall and one in super tall.


Wolfhound         
Deerhound        

5 comments:

  1. How are wolfhounds with other animals, like sheep?

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    1. Interesting question Karen :-) Like most dogs, Wolfhounds do best with other animals when they are raised with them. The other option would be to adopt an adult Wolfhound who has shown little interest in chasing other animals.

      Any dog, allowed to run unconstrained near sheep has the potential to have their prey drive (desire to chase something that runs) kick in. It is hard enough on sheep to be chased by a small dog but something like a Wolfhound could literally scare a sheep to death with chasing.

      When I have a dog and prey animals in the same area, I always take the introductions slowly and with the dog on a lead. Only if the dog is completely disinterested when the prey animal runs would I allow that dog off a lead around the prey animals.

      (For those not familiar with the term,some animals are hunters, some prey. Sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, horses, goats...livestock = prey. Their instinct is to avoid or run away from animals who can kill them.)

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  2. I love the look of these two breeds, especially the Deerhound. (But then I'm incredibly drawn to Borzoi). Love to see them in action! Interesting that they not good watchdogs. BTW, agree completely with your comments about any dog around "prey."

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sue,

      Yes, if you like Borzoi (as I do too) then the Deerhound is particularly attractive - very similar physical build under the fur.

      Now if someone wants a breed that tends to be good with other animals, the Golden is certainly worth a close look ;-)

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  3. Yep... Goldens are good around everyone and everything :-)

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